Researchers have developed a novel technique to separate and analyze all the proteins found in human saliva, not just the soluble ones, providing an approach that may reveal protein markers for oral cancer and other disorders in the oral cavity.
Saliva contains an abundance of proteins that could be used to screen for diseases, particularly oral diseases. Until now, though, studies have only focused on the small subset of free-floating saliva proteins. Far more proteins are present inside of oral cells, and Timothy Griffin, Nelson Rhodus and colleagues developed a method, called three-step peptide fractionation, to look at those understudied proteins.
They analyzed saliva samples from four oral cancer patients and identified over 1000 human proteins, including many known cancer associated proteins. In addition, they separated out proteins from over 30 different bacteria, many of which have not been previously found in saliva, and several of which may also have possible cancer links.
The researchers note that the mortality rate for oral cancer has hardly declined over the past 30 years; their technique, providing the first description of using whole cells to identify the vast array of human and bacterial proteins in saliva, may help identify new markers for oral cancer progression.
This research was recently published in the journal Molecular And Cellular Proteomics.
Materials provided by American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.
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